Panelists discuss Trump’s executive orders and U.S.-Mexico relations

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Photo Credit: Stephanie Martinez-Arndt | Daily Texan Staff

Professors, students and community members stood in solidarity Wednesday against President Donald Trump’s executive orders on immigration policies and U.S.-Mexico
border relations. 

A “Foro Urgente” panel hosted by the Teresa Lozano Long Institute of Latin American Studies raised awareness to issues negatively impacting the Austin Latino community. 

“Whether they can muster the (U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement) resources to round up 10,000 people in a weekend or 600 in a weekend, intentions matter,” educational psychology professor Ricardo Ainslie said. “On that very first day, when he came down from Trump Tower, this president started an attack against immigrants.” 

Carlos Gonzalez Gutierrez, consul general of Mexico in Austin, introduced the panelists, consisting of law professor Denise Gilman, immigration attorney Barbara Hines, a UT student and Ainslie.  

Ainslie said Trump’s executive orders have caused fear among those in the Latino community. 

“There have been only a few deportations, but they’ve given such a great impact of fear,” Ainslie said. “Even people with (documentation) are afraid to leave their homes.”

Gilman said the border area is actually quite safe with border crossers typically being women and children. 

“There is no recognition of immigration having favorable aspects of relations between the U.S. and Mexico,” Gilman said. “It’s very clearly intended to be a political message of crisis and security at the border.”

Anthropology senior Juan Belman, the student panelist, said his status as a Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals student allows him to relate to the anxieties surfacing among Latino communities.  

“We need to try to speak about our rights because those little things make such a big difference here in the United States,” Belman said.

Hines said the executive orders might not even be legal or constitutional, evidenced by the Muslim ban.  

“In these really dark times, it’s important to remember we still have the so-called judges and that we may have to go to the courts to stop what I think are some of the illegal and unconstitutional actions of the new—what should I call it?—new president,” Hines said. “We really need to do all that we can.”